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Full text of "Poland Russia and Great Britain 1941-1945"

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one delegate remained free, and the Soviet Government declared that
they now no longer agreed to the continuance of a relief organisation
based on a network of delegates. At the protest of the Pcli3h Govern-
ment, most of the arrested delegates and the local representatives were
set free (at the end of October they were made to leave the U.S.S.R.)*
with the exception of some sixteen persons, who <c cculd not be traced."
The Polish Embassy was permitted to continue its work of relief, only
on a very reduced scale and only for such Poles as were situated near the
camps of the Polish Army, mainly the families of the soldiers. When in
January, 1943, the Narkomindel finally claimed every Pole in Russia as a
Soviet citizen, the remaining exiles had to be left to their fate.
The second batch of Polish troops left Russia in August, 1942, and with
them the second and last group of civilians. The Soviet Government
did not wish to release any more. The scene of this final evacuation was
tragic in the extreme. When the news spread that the last section of
the Polish Army was leaving Russia, thousands of Polish people from the
surrounding districts flocked to the docks and station, hoping that they
might be able to go with them. But the Soviet authorities would not
allow one more person above the prescribed quota to leave their country.
The railway trucks were closely controlled and guarded by N.K.V.D.
troops and the unhappy people were threatened and driven away. Just
before the last train was due to leave, General Zhukov of the Security
troops of the N.K.V.D. came himself to personally verify that the trucks
contained no one who was not on the prescribed list. A similar scene
was repeated at the port of Krasnovodsk, where the troops and civilians
had been embarked ready to ship for Iran.*
The Polish Government, time and time again, tried to extract a few
more of its citizens from the U.S.S.R., but invariably encountered a
stubborn refusal. They did their utmost to rescue at least as many
children as possible, but the result was not encouraging. In September,
1942, five hundred children were evacuated to India. On June 2, 1942,
the Polish Ambassador spoke with Vyshinsky regarding a general evacua-
tion of all the Polish children. Vyshinsky's attitude, however, was
unfavourable and he emphasised the difficulties of transportation. On
July 8, the Polish Embassy received a letter from the Narkomindel stating
that the question was under consideration. In September came the
answer that the Soviet Government agreed to the evacuation of some
* An extract from the memoirs of M. Jankowski:
As the embarkation was being completed, a boy of sixteen or seventeen years of
age came running to the pier and begged the Russian guards to allow him to join
the ship, but they pushed him away. The desperate boy tried to scale one of the
gunnel ropes still attached to the ship;, but the guards of the N.K.V JX began to
shake it violently. The hands of the exhausted boy were too weak to hold him
. .  and he dropped with a crash on to the pier and broke his skull. The guards
casually kicked the body in the water. Those on the ship and the thousands who
had been left despairingly on the shore looked on this pitiful scene with stunned
helplessness.